Welcome to the “I AM: So You Don’t Have to Be” Bible Study – Round Two. I am so happy you are here!
This study has been a great blessing to me both in preparing it and meeting all the great girls who are progressing along in Round One. Your insights are a joy to read and open my eyes to so many ways the Lord uses His Word to speak to hearts. It is amazing to me how a general word can go forth yet the Holy Spirit can apply it very specifically. My prayer as this study continues is for God to lead you from your Egypt – no matter it may be – into your own Promised Land.
If you have not yet done so, please read the Welcome and FAQ’s. Hopefully these will answer any questions you have. If not, feel free to email me. I’ll help in any way I can! These lessons will post every other week alternating with Round One. You are welcome to respond in comments if you do not wish to post your responses to the Burning Questions on your blog or you can sign the Mr. Linky at the end of each lesson to direct other participants to your site. The link code is found in my sidebar directly under the Study Button.
With all that said, again, Welcome!! Let’s get started with the Introduction. After you have read this, you may simply follow the link at the bottom to proceed to Lesson One.
Blessings on you, girls! I can’t wait to study with you!
We recently celebrated our oldest son’s 11th birthday. The occasion left him with a pocket full of money and a head full of dreams over the purchase possibilities that now lay before him. His birthday request was to be taken to the only place a young boy with a wad of dough wants to go: WalMart.
We loaded up in the Suburban -my first born and I – and headed to town. It’s a rare occasion when I can take my eldest somewhere without one of the other three children in tow so to say I was thoroughly enjoying our mom and son bonding time is an understatement at best.
We arrived at the store and browsed through action figures, fishing poles, baseball bats, and finally electronics. I never knew one of the male species could shop for so long and touch so many things. Unlike his father, this boy did not know what he was going to buy, go in and buy it, and dash out within 7 minutes of hitting the front door. Oh no, this kid is GOOD. He knows how to linger and consider and pick up and put down and come back later when he has decided this is the thing he likes best. His wife will thank me one day. :)
When he had finally made all his selections, I asked him if he was ready to leave. He looked up at me, a little nervously, and here is something how the conversation went:
Boy: “Well, mom, I’ve been planning something.”
Me: “Planning something, huh? Like what, buddy?”
Boy: “You know those rings on that display in the jewelry department? I really want to buy you one.”
Me: (Bear hugging him) “That is the sweetest thing, but honey, you can keep your money. I appreciate how you want to do this, but I would like for you to have your money to buy yourself something else. Thank you for thinking of me, though.”
Boy: (Looking disappointed) “But mom, I really want to. I held some of my money back for it.”
Me: (Feeling like a heel for breaking Boy’s heart) “Well, then let’s go pick out a ring.”
Had you been there, you would have seen us walking towards the jewelry department – me trying to keep from squalling like a stinking baby and him walkin’ cowboy tall because, after all, he was taking his momma to buy her a ring. He took me to the revolving rack and I began to look. This is when he said, “Mom, I looked before and I have one already picked out that I think would be really pretty on you.”
Now I have to admit, the one he picked out was not the one I would have picked for myself. But do you honestly think I was going to turn down what he thought made me pretty? He searched until he found the right ring in the right size and you’ve never seen a sweeter face than when he realized it all worked out like he wanted. It was all over then…I hid behind the rack and cried. I hugged him once again and said, “This is the sweetest thing a boy could do for his mom.” He said, “It feels really good to be generous. It looks just like I thought it would.” Be still my heart.
I tell you all of this because very clearly as this event was taking place God was whispering in my ear, “I’m trying to give you something here. PAY ATTENTION.” Oh He gave me something alright – like the most perfect intro ever into our retreat that weekend.
In Scripture, the gift God promised to the Israelites by covenant through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the provision of the Land. Not just any land, but a land filled with homes they did not labor to build, vineyards they did not tend, a “land flowing with milk and honey”. It was a place of rest and safety. A place where God would teach His children true worship of His name alone. A place where they experienced the abundance of God not to hoard, but to bid to those around them, “come enter our rest.”
The land of Palestine is not the most intrinsically beautiful God could have given His children. He could have placed them on Hawaii or at least somewhere with a beach, for Pete’s sake. However, God was never concerned with our lying about in comfort. His purpose has always been about fruit-bearing. This is fascinating considering Palestine is described as as an agricultural wonderland. Stick seed in the ground here, and it will multiply as in no other place on the planet. There is also a relationship between God and this place. Most scholars agree, even though the topography of the land is different than pre-flood days, it is within this area where the Garden of Eden once lay. Ah, the Garden: Where God formed Adam from the dust, where He walked with His creation, where Sin required He drive His beloved away. God created us out of this land and, no matter how far we roam, is always about the work of bringing us back home.
The land was very much a physical blessing upon the Israelite community but we can experience it spiritually today. Just like my son giving me a ring that was beautiful in his eyes, the life God is giving you may not look like the one you had envisioned for yourself. We will never appreciate His choices short of the love relationship that will inspire us to respond ‘yes, I’ll receive and adore what You have picked out’. God has been planning something. It is was an intentional decision on His part to place you in this generation, within the circle of influence you possess because He alone knew the impact perhaps only your life could have on another in your midst. Our God wants to make us spiritually gorgeous. And, if you are like me, you want to wear the life God has said will make you most beautiful. God rejoices in ‘being generous’. He is trying to give us Canaan! It is about time we quit looking back over our shoulders at Egypt and simply walked face forward into the gift.
As we study, Moses will be our guide through the steps and implications of accepting the beauty of salvation, the call of authority, the task of spreading His fame, and finally receiving God as our portion. I pray you’ll join me for these lessons and will participate in discussion. I look forward to our time together!
This is an image of the place on Mt. Nebo where tradition says Moses overlooked the Promised Land before his death.
Proceed to Lesson One